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Ten Syrian human rights organizations have been working in partnership with the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) to document and expose the long-term impacts of the attacks to and the destruction of schools in Syria. The project, Save Syrian Schools, will present its findings in a public hearing-style event in Geneva on March 22nd, at Forum Genève. The project works creatively to document human rights abuses and includes a public hearing-style event, multimedia, and high-level dialogue.

In early May, the African National Congress (ANC) held on to power in South Africa’s general election. However, there is a widespread feeling that the party that oversaw the creation of the groundbreaking Truth and Reconciliation Commission has walked away from its obligations to the South African people.

2020 was a year of unforeseen hardships throughout the world. We may wish to write off last year as a loss and move forward. However, looking back on it as we do in this 2020 Year in Review, in which we highlight our most read content, we can find and take heart in important victories and apply lessons learned in 2021 and beyond.

In 2021, there were significant developments, some hopeful and some devastating, in the struggle for truth, accountability, and redress in countries around the world. ICTJ experts covered these events in commentaries and feature stories published on our website and in our newsletters. While 2022 is already underway and we at ICTJ are hard at work, we would like to pause a moment to take stock and reflect on the year that was.

Throughout 2023, ICTJ’s experts have offered their unique perspective on breaking news around the globe as part of the World Report. Their insightful commentaries have brought into focus the impact these events have on victims of human right violations as well as larger struggles for peace and justice. In this edition, we look back on the past year through the Expert’s Choice column.

ICTJ is launching a new multimedia page featuring projects that highlight the human perspective of issues in transitional justice and seek to engage a wide variety of audiences in a discussion on accountability for massive human rights abuses. Here's why we think multimedia can play a key role in deepening public understanding of transitional justice, and convey the guiding principles of ICTJ.

As Colombia marked International Justice Day, the importance of accountability for violations committed during the decades of conflict was underscored in the number of victims awaiting justice—376,000 registered in the Attorney General’s Office, more than 4 million in total. And while July 17 is celebrated as the date of adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, it is clear that in countries like Colombia accountability extends beyond criminal trials.

In an address to the UN Security Council, ICTJ President David Tolbert urged States to prioritize transitional justice as an integrated approach to seeking accountability for crimes against children in armed conflict.

In 2016, the Yemeni National Commission to Investigate Alleged Violations to Human Rights began documenting violations committed since the 2011 uprising and during the subsequent brutal civil war, which continues today. To date, the commission has documented more than 23,000 human rights abuses and referred over 2,000 cases to Yemen’s Public Prosecutor for prosecution. However, no verdict has been issued in any of these cases. To help the commissioners and members of Yemen’s judiciary advance accountability, ICTJ organized a workshop for them on transitional justice mechanisms. However, to deliver a justice that meets all the reparative needs of victims, these efforts must be an integral part of a broader, multifaceted transitional justice process.

The role of victim participation in international criminal proceedings, whether in international, hybrid, or national courts, has long been a matter of public deliberation among criminal justice practitioners and human rights activists. In the aftermath of mass atrocities and repression, the...

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the hip hop movement. To honor its contributions to the struggle for justice, truth, and equality, the Skoll Foundation hosted a panel discussion and concert event featuring hip hop artists, including cofounder of the legendary rap group Run-DMC Darryl McDaniels and Colombian rapper and producer Ali aka Mind, as part of its 20th World Forum held in April in Oxford, United Kingdom. ICTJ, which received the Skoll Award for Social Innovation in 2009 and has partnered with the Skoll Foundation since, invited Ali aka Mind as a representative of Rexistencia Hip Hop, an artistic mentorship and creation lab led by ICTJ’s office in Colombia and the Latin American media outlet and foundation Cartel Urbano.

In meeting spaces in Goma, Bukavu, and Bunia, activists and magistrates are discussing ways that they can work together to improve the prosecution of international crimes in the region and address the concerns of local communities.
A new ICTJ report argues that in Africa's interconnected Great Lakes region, each country’s attempt to provide justice for past violations offers lessons for similar processes in others. We gathered civil society activists from across the region to discuss which strategies have worked for them, which have not, and opened up about the greatest challenges they face in securing justice.

It is an honor and a privilege for me to be with you for this important national conference. One year ago, on this exact same date, just three months after the Tunisian people impressed the world by peacefully ending decades of repression, I had the pleasure to speak at a conference ICTJ organized here in Tunis together with the Arab Institute for Human Rights, the Tunisian League for Human Rights and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It was an important and lively debate on how to address the legacy of the past and move forward.

The removal of monuments to Confederate heroes is an important blow to the white-supremacy ideology that underpins ongoing racial injustices in the United States today, from mass incarceration to institutional violence. ICTJ President David Tolbert calls for a reckoning with these haunting injustices through memorials, acknowledgements and more.

As new evidence of past violations comes to light, Afghanistan must prioritize transitional justice measures to break the cycle of abuse. ICTJ's new briefing paper provides analysis of past reports identifying the patterns of abuses and puts forth recommendations to the government of Afghanistan.
In today’s United States, civic trust that has been systematically eroded among many communities of color. There is little basis, either historically or in the current political atmosphere, for African Americans and other minorities to have this essential trust in government institutions, particularly in the police. To build that relationship, there must first be a reckoning, writes ICTJ President David Tolbert.

In a major effort to promote accountability for serious crimes in Africa, ICTJ joined hundreds of human rights groups and transitional justice partners to ask the African Union to prioritize justice. Addressed to the new African Union (AU) Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the letter warns that strained relationships between the AU and the International Criminal Court (ICC) may put justice at risk.

ICTJ spoke with Patrick Walsh, an Australian human rights advocate who helped establish and advise East Timor's Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation (CAVR).

Carlos Martín Beristain is part of the panel investigating the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico. We sat down with him to discuss his work, the resistance the investigation has faced from the Mexican government and whether transitional mechanisms have a role in this context.

In this editorial, Christopher Gitari argues that as the ICC case against Ruto and Sang comes to a halt, our focus must shift to other forms of justice in Kenya - including reparations for victims.

In this op-ed, ICTJ's Aileen Thomson and Bo Kyi argue that in the wake of Myanmar's historic elections, the release of all political prisoners held by the government would be an important step towards national reconciliation.

On August 7, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) found two senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, guilty of crimes against humanity. For many victims who have been waiting for 35 years, the judgment still felt like bittersweet justice.

Is reconciliation a central aim of transitional justice processes? Or does it have different bearings in different settings? A new paper presents possible understandings of the concept of reconciliation as well as its relationship to the field of transitional justice.

Tunis, July 10, 2020—The Truth and Dignity Commission’s (TDC) final report was at last published on June 24, six year after the TDC began its work. It marks an important milestone in Tunisia’s transition, but the journey ahead to justice and democracy is a long one. Policymakers and practitioners now have the responsibility to take the next step forward.

With the publication of the much-delayed US Senate Intelligence Committee’s partial report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, at long last the truth is out. In this op-ed, ICTJ's President David Tolbert asks the United States to acknowledge the truth, hold the perpetrators accountable and address its obligation to the victims of its detention policies.

The government of Uganda should work to institute comprehensive reparations for victims of the war against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). So states a new report by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP).

On January 27, 2022, the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group will examine Uganda’s human rights record. The UPR process presents an important opportunity to spotlight the human rights situation in the country, and recommend actions that the government of Uganda should take to fulfill its human rights obligations.

It only takes a quick skim of the daily news to see how the world has yet again failed Afghan civilians. Afghanistan has not had many good years in the past four decades of war, but the past 15 months have been decidedly fraught. The current chaos and spiking violence are proof that, despite what the US government has proclaimed, the “forever war” rages on. Peace and meaningful, victim-centered justice remain elusive.

The photography exhibition “All Our Tears” weaves together the stories of victims from the wars in the Western Balkan region in the 1990s. It consists of photographs taken by four photographers in various locations in Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia, and was part of a three-year project funded by the European Union that brought together civil society organizations and victims’ groups in Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia, along with the international organizations ICTJ and PAX to develop meaningful, victim-led peacebuilding and reconciliation initiatives in the region.

The allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the final phases of the conflict in Sri Lanka, made in the Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka released on April 25, must be thoroughly investigated. This is the first comprehensive UN report examining the events in the Vanni region between January and May of 2009 and it alleges that “tens of thousands of civilians” were killed. The Government of Sri Lanka, but also the relevant international bodies, cannot claim credibility if these findings are ignored.

ICTJ is pleased to announce that Peruvian diplomat and renowned international peace mediator Alvaro de Soto has joined ICTJ's Advisory Board.

During the past month, over 400,000 members of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim community have been driven from their homes as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign led by the military. What lies at the root of the current violence, how is it connected to political transition, and does transitional justice have a role to play? ICTJ's Anna Myriam Roccatello answers those questions and more.

As part of its ongoing support of the Committee of the Families of the Kidnapped and Disappeared in Lebanon, ICTJ organized a three-day virtual workshop on transitional justice for university students on July 12-14, 2021. The students all served as volunteers on a project to establish an archive of the committee’s work and activism over the past four decades and participated in a previous workshop in February 2020 that introduced them to transitional justice concepts.

South Africa’s Constitutional Court recently made a landmark ruling on the right to speak the truth about crimes amnestied by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. ICTJ Truth-Seeking Consultant Howard Varney speaks about the ruling and its significance for South Africa and other countries.

In a new analysis, the ICTJ addresses one of the crucial points of the peace negotiations between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP): the possibility of providing recourse to the broadest amnesty possible and pardons as part of the treatment of the different crimes committed in the framework of more than fifty years of armed conflict.

This is the second of our Stories of Change series; in it, Tarek al-Massri, an 18-year-old from Homs now living in Germany, knows all too well the horrors of the Syrian conflict and its devastating impact on schools.

ICTJ is pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Amra Sabic-El-Rayess to its Board of Directors.

In this analysis piece, ICTJ's Cristián Correa expresses concern about a decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights leaving room for interpretations that condone the use of methods for combating subversion and terrorism forbidden by international human rights law.

On June 5 and 6, 2024, the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) hosted the fourth edition of the AU-EU Experts’ Seminar on Transitional Justice in Brussels, Belgium. The consortium implementing the Initiative for Transitional Justice in Africa, led by ICTJ, helped organize the event. The seminar explored how transitional processes can transform individual lives, societal relations, and dysfunctional state institutions.

The African Union and the European Union have officially launched a three-year project to support AU member states as they incorporate the African Union Transitional Justice Policy and undertake transitional justice processes at the national level. The project, named the Initiative for Transitional Justice in Africa, will be implemented by a consortium of three organizations led by the International Center for Transitional Justice, the African Transitional Justice Legacy Fund, and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.

ICTJ is pleased to announce that Anil Soni, Head of Global Infectious Diseases at Mylan, has joined its Advisory Board. "We are honored to welcome Anil Soni as the newest member of ICTJ’s leadership. As a respected figure in the global health community with ample experience at international NGOs, he...

Given the positive feedback and enormous interest in the Intensive Course on Transitional Justice and Peace Processes held in Barcelona in October 2017, ICTJ is hosting a similar course in New York in March 2018. The course will continue to focus on practical examples of current, recent, or...

ICTJ and the Barcelona International Peace Resource Center (BIPRC) are pleased to announce the 5th Intensive Course on Truth Commissions, which will focus on a practical approach to addressing the challenges of designing and implementing a truth commission.

For many victims of human rights violations and international crimes around the world, the prospects of holding perpetrators to account, especially high-level individuals, have long seemed farfetched, given current political and legal hurdles and the limitations of international criminal justice mechanisms. For this reason, the multiple ongoing investigations into international crimes committed in Syria and court cases against suspected perpetrators based on the principle of universal jurisdiction across Europe have offered a ray of hope in an otherwise bleak justice landscape.

The United Nations has proclaimed December 10 as International Human Rights Day. The date commemorates the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, which represented the reaction of the international community to the horrors of the Second World War. Today is a day for reflection more than celebration. A cursory scan of events from the last few weeks has thrown up examples that demonstrate that the belief in human rights for all - in treating all states the same - is more of a tissue-thin membrane than a robust bulwark.

ICTJ spoke with Pablo Parenti about the trial that just concluded which investigated human rights violations and crimes against humanity that occurred at the Naval Mechanics School (ESMA), used as a detention and torture center during the Argentine dictatorship.

Lebanon has yet to seriously address the issue of thousands of people who went missing or were forcibly disappeared during the country’s civil war. ICTJ spoke with Lebanese activists to discuss a recent initiative taken by the families of the missing and civil society organizations to create a draft law on the missing.

Five years ago, in August 2018, to mark his 100 days in office, Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan addressed a large rally in Yerevan’s Republic Square to officially announce his government’s intentions to incorporate transitional justice mechanisms into Armenian post-revolution reform agenda. Since then, Armenia has been pursuing a range of transitional justice initiatives alongside other democratic reforms, and it has made some limited headway, despite setbacks and major challenges including renewed conflict with Azerbaijan.

JAKARTA, Nov. 15, 2011—Experts and stakeholders from Cambodia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Burma, Timor-Leste, Thailand, and Nepal, along with international experts are gathering in Jakarta’s Hotel Atlet from November 15–16 to discuss the need for progress on prosecuting serious crimes in Asia.